Hey everybody! Sorry it's been so long, but I want these to be as best as they can be for you lovely readers! Thanks to everyone who's read so far, and left reviews. I'll be trying to post every weekend. Enjoy the chapter!
For six years, the wolves raised the girl alongside their own cubs. Lune knew no other life. She didn't even know she was human. The wolves were her parents. Her brothers and sisters.
She grew up alongside the other pups, learning how to move unseen and unheard in the forest. How to leap over fallen trees with eases, and to run as swift as the wind without losing breath.
She learned to fight, to hunt, and loyalty. The parents may not have shown any preferential treatment to any of the children, or any treatment besides indifference, but Lune grew up happy.
That is, until now.
She didn't know it, but it was her sixth birthday.
What was important to her was that her parents had announced their first family hunt. She stood lined up with her siblings, listening quietly as they explained.
"We have watched your training, and have decided you are ready for your first hunt as a family."
They stepped forward, mother putting her paws on Lune's shoulder, "Many of you have shown great strength."
The pups whispered excitedly. Lune felt her heart race as she was set aside from her brothers and sisters. Her closest sister gave her a thumbs up and smiled. Their parents had never shown any affection towards any of them.
She almost missed father's next words, "but so has your prey…"
She froze as her brothers and sisters dropped to the ground, growling at her, stalking closer. Her throat closed up as everyone she trusted and loved advanced, ready to tear her throat out.
Lune turned tail and ran as fast as she could. They waited for a few beats before giving chase, relishing the hunt. She couldn't believe it. They had raised her, and her siblings had cared for her. But on the turn of a dime, they had changed.
Their howls filled the forest, sending chills down her spine.
This couldn't be happening…
This couldn't be happening…
THIS COULDN'T BE HAPPENNING.
It was just a dream…
It was just a dream…
THIS IS JUST A DREAM.
Her breath came in pants as she ran. She shut off her brain, blocking off any thoughts, trying to concentrate on running. On getting away.
From her family.
The only people she ever knew and cared for.
How could this be happening?
She lept over a tree, landing hard, leaves flying up behind her. She heard growling behind her. Her head turned just barely and she saw her sister flying for her. Lune barely registered any pain as sharp teeth closed around her arm, flesh ripping as she slid out of the grip.
She kept running, blood dripping down her arm as she ran. Hearing multiple feet pounding the ground behind her, Lune willed her legs to go faster. She focused ahead of her, dodging trees. Then, she saw a huge gorge ahead of her.
She could never make that.
She could never…
She lept, praying to anyone who would listen. Time seemed to slow down as she practically hovered in midair over the middle of the gorge. Her heart stuck in her throat, refusing to beat as her lungs closed up.
Then, her feet touched solid ground and she rolled over herself. She laid there, curled in a ball for a minute, and then looked up.
The pack was on the other side of the gorge, staring at her. They howled angrily as Lune glared at them. Then, she turned and ran, trying to put more distance between them.
She didn't know how long she ran, but the sun set, the moon rose and set, and it was dawn again. Her legs felt like they would give out under her.
Then they did.
She flew upwards, legs snatched from beneath her. She swung in circles, a length of rope wrapped around her ankle. She hung there for a few minutes before she heard rustling around.
Two women walked out of the brush and stared at the swinging girl. Lune stared at them as they whispered, looking at her.
They walked up, the taller one grabbing her waist, while the other summoned fire in her hand, burning the rope off her ankle. They set her on the ground, looking her over as she curled into a ball, staring at them.
The taller one squatted in front of her, "Hey what's your name?
"Ok Lune. My name is Alaina. My wife there is Nalanee. Where's your family? Why is your arm all cut up?"
"Muh- my family truh- tried to kih- kill me. My sih- sister bih-bite me."
"That's awful honey. Why don't you come with us? We can wrap up your arm, and get you some food. And a bed to sleep in. You're shaking. How long have you been running?"
"All duh-day and nuh-night."
"Oh you poor thing." She stood up, reaching her hand out, "Come on dear. Let's get you to our home."
Lune took her hand nervously, letting Alaina lift her up. They walked hand in hand for a while, until she noticed the girl trembling. Alaina leaned down, locked her arms under Lune, lifting her up to her torso, holding the girl secure. Lune instinctively wrapped her arms around the woman's neck and locked her feet at her back.
They walked in silence for a couple minutes, the women smiling at each other knowingly. Eventually, they reached a small hut. Alaina set the girl down, taking her hand again, and walking her inside, setting her down in a chair at the table in the middle of the main room.
Nalanee set a bowl of warm mush from a pot over a fire in front of the girl. Lune sniffed the bowl, picked up the spoon next to it, and poked the mush. Taking a tentative bite, she quickly finished the bowl. The stress of the previous day caught up to her. Her body ached, feet and arm throbbing.
As her head nodded off, she felt herself being lifted again and set on something soft. Her eyes closed as she felt her arm being lifted.
She heard Alaina's voice ring through the haze in her mind, "Ok honey. She needs to clean it. It's going to sting for a minute. Can you be a big girl for us?"
She felt herself nod, and a hand pate her hair.
"Good girl. Once she's done, you can sleep, ok?"
She felt her arm sting, but didn't lift her head. Something rough was rubbed on her arm, and something cool applied after. It numbed her arm, making her more tired. She barely felt as cloth was wrapped tight around her arm.
Nalanee kissed her hand as her partner kissed Lune's hair, "Ok. I'm done. Lay back honey."
Soft hands laid her back, tucking something soft and heavy around her. They patted her over the blankets. Lune felt warmth creep over her as she drifted into darkness.
Several days later
Days passed as Lune slept. Things were peaceful in this little home of stone and wood. The women moved around her quietly, trying to let her sleep uninterrupted.
When she finally woke, it was dawn again. Thunder rumbled in the distance. The pair sat at the table, talking over bowls of broth. She sat up, legs swinging out of the bed. The pair looked over and Alaina stood up.
"Hey honey. You're finally awake." She knelt in front of Lune, putting gentle hands on her shoulders, "How do you feel?"
She nodded silently.
Alaina smiled, "Ok. I'm glad. Come sit and have some soup. You must be hungry."
Taking the girl by the hand, they walked to the table, sitting down. Nalanee set a new bowl down in front of her. The two went back to their conversation as Lune ate quietly, listening to them talk of preparations for the approaching storm, which rumbled in the distance.
She looked out the hole in the wall, covered by a see-through pane. The trees outside waved in the growing wind. Lune frowned.
Something was wrong.
She couldn't tell yet, but something was wrong.
She could feel spikes of something shooting up her legs from her heels, curling up her spine and wrapping around her neck like vines.
The earth felt…
She focused, drowning out the thunder and voices. She sent her mind down, into the dirt. The earth was growling. Lune stood slowly, looking outside. The trees were shaking now, birds flying away. Deer ran past the house.
Nalanee frowned, half standing up, "What in the…"
The earth rumbled and groaned. The women stood up in alarm one hand reaching for the other, one for Lune. The house shook, bowls falling off the table and off shelves. The trio ran outside.
Lune looked around at the trees bouncing as the ground rippled like a river, "What's going on?!"
Alaina yelled, grabbing her should and pulling her close, "It's an earthquake! Stay close to me and away from the trees!"
They struggled to keep standing in the open. Nalanee fell over, tripping over the doorframe. Lightning flashed across the sky as a crack shook the mountain. They looked up as a giant chunk of stone slid from the mountain, falling almost slowly.
Nalanee looked up in shock, then toward the two standing in the open.
Alaina screamed her wife's name as the stone slammed into the ground, demolishing the house. Lune grabbed her hand as she tried to run towards the house.
Thunder kept flashing as the ground stopped shifting. Alaina screamed in anguish, falling to her knees. Lune looked between her and the stone, she could see Nalanee's head, shoulders and arms from under the stone.
She was still alive, but not for long.
Lune felt rage boiling beneath her skin. This woman had taken her in and fed her with no hesitation. She closed her eyes, wishing she could somehow list the rock off her. Lune grabbed her elbows and felt a tear run down her cheek.
Then, she heard Alaina take a shaky breath. Opening her eyes, she saw the rock lift up into the air and float away, slamming back into the mountain. Nalanee and the remains of the house were uncovered.
The storm broke over their heads as Alaina ran to her wife's side, splashing down in the mud, cradling her head. Lune followed, standing next to them.
Nalanee's mouth moved as she tried to form words. Blood bubbled out.
Alaina shushed her, brushing the blood from her mouth with a thumb, "Don't." her breath shook, "Don't try to speak honey. It's… it's going to be ok."
She cradled her head and sobbed as Nalanee's eyes drifted closed. Lune looked at her bandaged arm, then knelt and placed a hand on her arm. She could feel her heartbeat slowing, feel the blood filling the lungs. She focused on the hurt areas, remembering Nalanee's gentle touch as she healed Lune's arm.
Her hands started to glow golden. Alaina watched her, breath coming in gasps as the rain fell harder, steam rising from Lune's hand. Lighting flashed across the sky as streaks of gold ran across the dying woman's body.
Her chest filled out, skin flushing as blood was replenished. She opened her eyes and took a shaky breath as her ruined lungs healed. Her eyes, unfocused, watched as the streaks of gold receded, returning to Lune's hand.
Nalanee sat up, only to be crushed in a hug by Alaina. Lune stood and looked back at the house. Only an hour before the house had been standing.
As she thought of the house, the ruined pieces rose up and joined back together. The women stared at the house and Lune as she was illuminated by continuous lightning. She looked up. The storm was getting worse.
She blinked and the rain lessened, the clouds clearing to a clear blue sky.
Lune turned to the women, who were staring at her in disbelief.
"Um… can we go inside now? I'm tired…"
The women looked at each other, then laughed, standing up, putting a hand on her shoulders, bringing her back inside.